Poetry by Davis McCombs
It was always something: a sack / of turnips, a shred of neighborly suspicion, some pretense / trailing into dark ellipsis: I come to get my chain back…so…
Last of the umpteen times our neighbor cracked the door
to find our other neighbor, Elmo Blot, wavering
in the borrowed light of his porch—he thinks now, thinking
back on that night when snow was swirling over the gutters
and surely not even the barn owls were out and about,
that Blot was likely already dead by the time he showed up there.
I seen a truck come up this way and wondered if y’all
was alright. There was no truck, no tracks on the road.
What could he have meant? Why would he stop at Ray and Deb’s
one last time before departing our frozen world for good?
This had been going on for years. Once Deb heard a pecking
in the middle of the night and found Blot on their stoop
with a dead beagle draped around his neck: Bisco didn’t make it.
Figured y’all’d wanta know. It was always something: a sack
of turnips, a shred of neighborly suspicion, some pretense
trailing into dark ellipsis: I come to get my chain back…so…
It’s snowing again tonight, and I’ve been thinking of Blot,
dead nearly a decade now, wondering if I believe in ghosts
or in oblivion. My breath fogs the window, a membrane
beyond which the hill is a whorl of stiffening silver, flakes
fastening their geometries on every branch and blade,
the kind of night when whatever is out there shouldn’t be.
Davis McCombs’s most recent collection of poems, lore, was published by the University of Utah Press in 2016. He directs the Program in Creative Writing and Translation at the University of Arkansas.